Tuesday, July 5, 2011

And They Call the Wind Mariah

A short way into today's ride---Manistique to Escanaba 52 miles---we began to see a break in the clouds and a little bit of blue sky peeping through. Turns out we were trading out the rain for wind.

We bucked a headwind a good portion of the day. Mike and I took off so we could get to Escanaba in time for Mike Roon to take us to the airport to catch a 4:52pm flight to Detroit, then home to Salt Lake City. The leaders of our church were being changed, and we wanted to be there.

Breakfast at Big Boy. This is the third dressed up moose I've seen standing outside of a business.

A charming centerpiece. Do you think Martha Stewart can see the decorative potential of bike helmets?

A message to the Rain Gods... Maybe we should have been more specific.

Loren and I are twinners in our Maine jerseys

Why don't we just sit and chat a spell?

The Escanaba Airport. Our plane had room for 22 passengers.

Escanaba Standard Time?

For more photos go here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

There is Sunshine in My Soul Today...

But, pretty much nowhere else. It rained again on us---almost the entire day. We did have a few intermittent clear spells, but then the rain would start up again. To our left there was a tiny patch of clear sky trying to poke thru, but ahead of us and to the right of us were black clouds. Lake Michigan was on our left all day, but we didn't acutally see it very much because of the fog. I needed windshield wipers on my glasses. At one point, I was telling Joy just to follow the sound of my voice. (It was a joke, but not that far from the truth.)

Today's ride: Mackinaw City to Manistique---88 miles. We had to be shuttled across the Mackinac Bridge in the Michigan Coast Riders van. They only allow cyclists to actually ride across the bridge a couple of times a year. Here we are, giddy to start a new day.
Joy, JB and Loren in the front seat. Jeanne and Mike in the back.

The 5-mile long Mackinac Bridge looks like the Golden Gate Bridge. It connects Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas, and bridges the Mackinac Staits which connect Lake Huron with Lake Michigan.
And yes, it was already raining.

A popular food item in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) is a pasty. Rhymes with nasty, I've yet to try one. They look to me like a cross between a chicken pot pie and a turnover, but drier. Any kind of meat can be used and a variety of vegetables. (I even saw a sign advertising bison pasties.) My postcard says pasties "taste best with ketchup and margarine or gravy on the side." I, also, saw a sign for "pasty pizza." Maybe we'll consider adding that to the Pier 49 menu....um, probably not.

Joy and I looking for a potty...and a diet coke.

When in this part of the country, be sure not to miss the Smelt Fest.

The Yoopers (folks who live in the U.P.) are very friendly.

Do you think this looks like a columbine? That was our best guess.

The rain really is getting ridiculous. To pass the time while riding, Joy and I were singing any song we could think of with rain or clouds or sunshine in the title. Some of our Top 40: "Sunshine on my Shoulders" by John Denver; "Singin' in the Rain", of course; and "Blue Skies Shinin' on Me, Nothin' but Blue Skies Do I See"---we were beginning to hallucinate. Can you think of any others to add to our medley?

I, even, remembered a poem by Shel Silverstein that ends with "So pardon the wild, crazy thing I just said, I'm just not the same since there's rain in my head."

After dinner, the skies had cleared a bit and it was really quite pleasant for a walk along the beach.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mackinac Island

But you don't say the "c." It's "Mackinaw", not "Mackinack."

Located part way between the mainland portion of Michigan and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, there are no motorized vehicles allowed on this island, except for emergency vehicles---police, ambulance, and fire trucks---and pick-up trucks used by the utility companies. You get around by foot, bike, or horse. In the winter, an ice bridge forms and you can ride your snow mobile across the ice to St. Ignace. Kids over age 12, after completing a saftey course can drive a snowmobile.

It's about a 20-minute ferry ride to get there. After riding our bikes almost 70 miles, it was nice to get somewhere by somebody else's power.

This weekend the 44th Annual Wheelmen Meet is being held on Mackinac Island. The Wheelmen are a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping alive the heritage of American cycling, promoting the restoration and riding or early cycles (1918 or earlier), and encouraging cycling as part of modern living. I think they sound like very nice people :)

Here are a couple of their members out for a spin on the island.

600 of them will converge on Mackinac Island. There is a parade, and a 100-mile ride. To ride that far you have to circle the island about 12 times.

The bikes with the big front wheel and the small rear wheel are called penny-farthing, high wheel, or high wheeler. I've never seen one being ridden in real life, but because the Wheelmen were gathering they were all over the place. There were lots of other kinds of old bikes, too.

Not old bikes, just a lovely picture.

Another way to get around town.

I bet the people who live here are very nice, too.

A cousin of the lilac?

Tourists are called "fudgies" here, because there are so many fudge shops and who doesn't like fudge?

Here are two tourists buying fudge now. They look a lot like Mike and Joy.

The misty, foggy view from the ferry.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rain, rain, go away!

We started the misty morning with birthday wishes for our Maine man JB. There will be 50-something candles on his cake.

JB and his wife, Loren, ride a yellow-orange tandem named "The Mango." When referring to their bike do not forget "the." You should see them zoom downhill.

Most of the morning we rode in the rain. As a result, I took very few photos today.
Then it rained harder.
Then it hailed.
Then we saw two lightening bolts.

Joy and I took refuge next to a truck in some nice person's yard. It was POURING! 

When it let up a bit, we still had about 5 miles to go before we reached the tourist area of Traverse City for our scheduled breakfast stop. We rode along the bike trail along the water front. We were so happy to make it to McDonald's. I don't really like hot chocolate, or egg McMuffins, but I had the best hot chocolate I've ever had in my life, and my first Egg McBagel. Just happy to be out of the rain for a minute.

Along the bike trail at Traverse City

 Note to self:  When planning next bike trip, consider Miami.

For more photos go here. Thanks Mike, Shane, and Brad!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head

Donning our bright yellow rain jackets, the ten of us left Charlevoix heading for Mackinaw City about 73 miles away. The first 17 miles were along a gorgeous bike trail skirting Lake Michigan. And, yep, it's still raining.

We are in the Petoskey area, which coincidentally is where Petoskey stones are found :) They are fossilized coral with a fascinating honeycomb pattern on them, and are found along the beaches of Lake Michigan. Jeanne knew the general vicinity to look, so we stopped to do a little rock hunting. I know, I know---I'm a grown woman and I still collect pretty rocks. Jeanne found one right away. Continuing through the town of Petoskey, I saw a cute house with rocks neatly surrounding their flower beds. Gotta be Petoskey stones, right? The owners had found a bunch!

Cool, huh?

Here are some awesome pictures, showing what they look like after they're all polished up.

The town of Petoskey, also, had some adorable Victorian style homes.

How cute is that?

Breakfast at Johan's in Harbor Springs
Mike Roon, Shane, Joy, and Mike

Townhouses in Harbor Springs

You may need a bike to ride from one end of your boat to the other.

Harbor Springs

The picture I really wanted to get was standing behind these chairs looking out at the lake. But on closer inspection it was loaded with poison ivy. Instead, I got a nice photo of the chairs with Joy coming back to see what's distracted me now.

Shortly after I took this picture I was given a nice, little pep talk to try and focus so we could get to our destination---Mackinaw City.
What?! And miss everything?

Lunch stop in the town of Goodhart. Can these towns get any cuter?! This is our fearless leader, Mike, and one of the fearless followers, Jeanne.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

On the Road Again

Finally. Let's get this party started. Riding about 68 miles today from Ludington to Beulah, Michigan. Did you know that Lake Michigan has 116 lighthouses? They're not just for oceans anymore. (Spoken by a person from a land locked state.) This one is in Manistee.

And just around the corner (literally) is this cute neighborhood.

These daisies are everywhere. I have to keep myself from gathering them by the handful. I do, however allow myself to pick a pretty flower here and there, and wedge them onto a spot on my handlebars.

These dainty irises are all over the place, too.

One of the hardest parts of these rides is that we don't have enough time to stop and look at everything. For instance, what do you think is at the top of this staircase? No time to find out.

I did get sucked into this cute little store though to buy a postcard. And a sticker. And sample a piece of fudge :)

Thankfully, some construction workers pointed out some poison ivy to us. All I could remember is something I learned in Girl Scouts: "Leaves of three, let it me." I am certain they saved us from some kind of nasty rash. Thanks guys!

Pretty innocent looking, isn't it? It's everywhere!

We really haven't had very many great views of Lake Michigan yet. Just a peek, here and there. But this one was breathtaking. Oh my!

A few weeks ago we were watching a piece about golfing in Michigan on the Golf Channel. In between highlights of fabulous golf courses, they would show other interesting places to check out while you're in the area. One dining recommendation was The Cherry Hut in Beulah, Michigan. Their motto seems to be "Anything is better if you add cherries to it." Anything. The Golf Channel highlighted their cherry hamburgers. I had my mouth set for one of those all day. Would it be sweet? Have a different texture? Would I see red bits of sweetness when I bit into it? Joy and I shared one for lunch. Turns out it did taste good and was quite moist, but we had to ask if we had really gotten the cherry hamburger. So, it tasted about the same as a regular hamburger, but lower in fat. Other items on the menu: Cherry BBQ Pork, Cherry Jelly and Peanut Butter, Cherry Chicken Salad Croissant and, of course, just pick your favorite dessert and they have a cherry version of it.

And if you like your cherries inside and out, in the ladies room you can use complimentary cherry hand soap, cherry lotion, and cherry perfume.